The city of joy, “the littleParis”, the city-dump – it’s all about Bucharest. And it’s all true. The beauty of it is that Bucharest does not disappoint. The Eiffel Tower may not seem like such a majestic Colosseum – just ordinary rubble, but Bucharest- is, as expected, gray, empty, naked and rather gloomy town. And in this way it’s attractive, and when you’re there, don’t forget to do the following TEN things:
Have a picnic on the huge lawn in the huge Parliament building. Wonder why such a small country have such a great office for the deputies….after the Pentagon it is the largest government building in the world. Well you must know that you are sitting in the place which was formerly part of the Old City, blown away by Ceausescu for the construction of this very Parliament.
Walk down the Victory Street, which is both the main and most unkempt street. But on it is located “Athenaeum” – a huge concert hall. Next to it – a monument to the dead during the revolution of 1989 but you won’t be able to recognize it immediately until you read the descriptive instruction on it: “It’s a wall of memories, it is a pyramid of Victory, which is here, look, seize thoughts.” The opinion of local people towards this monument is divided and contradictory: some call it “a potato on a stick.”
Go to one of the most peaceful places in the city and see the amazing beauty of the cemetery Ghencea. It is divided into three parts: civil, military and Muslim. The first two have huge white stone crosses, with no end visible, and the family vaults—to look in the windows of which is very interesting.
Buy books on the square near the metro Universitate. Here, neatly sorted, are lying dusty volumes of various genres, from classical philosophy to the detectives of Agatha Christie. There are books in English, French, German, Spanish. No second-hand rarities, nothing of value – just old books, but to dig on the shelves and find books in Romanian, a hundred times read, the same “Kid and Carlson,” is very nice. Cost, of course, peanuts.
Eat at one of the restaurants of La Mama. Here national and local cuisine is served, and this is one of the most decent restaurants in town, that’s why the table must be ordered in advance. And at any time, even on a Sunday afternoon there’s a queue of people outside the restaurant waiting for a table inside to be vacant. Usually there’s no need to choose the restaurants and cafes in Bucharest as they all have pretty tasty stuff cooked, and always have a whole lot (except salad is served not in the basins for Olivier). A rare case for Europe: after dinner, you can safely smoke -Romania actively resisting anti-smoking laws.
Periodically turn away from the main streets. Here renovated beautiful mansions are interspersed with Roma Gypsies’ houses. These are the buildings with boarded up windows and doors, with dogs in the yard. You get the feeling that you’re just about to see a goat or a lamb coming out in one of the yards. Although you can go walking on any of the streets in morning, but it’ll be more interesting to have a walk on streets in evening. And you don’t need to fear people but the dogs that go on hunting at night in packs on the streets, although during the daytime they are extremely friendly.
Buy local wine, very tasty and inexpensive. Especially good is white. Moreover, it should be bought not in the wine shops but in supermarkets, where prices are much lower and the range of wine is approximately the same. In addition, at the airport Otopeni (Henri Coanda Airport) in the region of duty-free shops, there’s a shop that is floor to ceiling laden with local alcohol: except wine there are all kinds of liquors.
Ride the subway and to understand that Romania and Russia, especially Moscow and Bucharest are very similar – not like the Soviet past, a rather the post-Soviet present. In any European city in the metro you know that you are in Europe- the people look like same and they dress the same. The subway trains are beautiful with cabin walls decorated with graffiti, are bright, and they do not stink.
Walk along the river Dymbovitsa, which is actually not a river: the river hid under the earth, and drained all the slag. Now on the ground is flowing canal, dug from the lake to the west of the city of Moria. Nowhere to go – just look around and feed the seagulls and the ducks. You can find a stone bench and sit on it with a bottle of something bought in a supermarket in the shopping center on Piata Unirii.
Standing on any of the big squares, you’ll get the feeling that the whole day you did not see any tourist. In the spring, especially early, they do not exist at all – and this is especially nice.
So next time when you’re in Romania don’t forget to do the above 10 things, and you won’t be disappointed.